Undiagnosed Mental Health Problems
Research shows about half of all people who suffer from a substance use disorder also experience mental illnesses, some of the most common being anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and antisocial personality disorder.4 While it is well-known that mental disorders and addiction frequently co-occur, many women may suffer from undiagnosed mental health problems, which increases the odds of self-medicating behaviors and relapse.
Where Women In Sobriety Can Find Support
Know that there are self-help groups all across the country. You can find a list of them here. You are not alone and you do not have to go it alone. Women in sobriety have forged paths that the rest can follow. Read some inspiring stories here, and here. Staying sober can be the most difficult challenge in your life. But it can also be the most rewarding. You are not alone in this journey. Your sisters have your back and walk beside you.
Substance Use While Pregnant And Breastfeeding
8.4 million females ages 18 and older have misused prescription drugs in the past year.1
The number of women with opioid use disorder at labor and delivery quadrupled from 1999-2014.3
Substance use during pregnancy can be risky to the womans health and that of her children in both the short and long term. Most drugs, including opioids and stimulants, could potentially harm an unborn baby. Use of some substances can increase the risk of miscarriage and can cause migraines, seizures, or high blood pressure in the mother, which may affect her fetus. In addition, the risk of stillbirth is 2 to 3 times greater in women who smoke tobacco or marijuana, take prescription pain relievers, or use illegal drugs during pregnancy.2 Surveys suggest that more women are using marijuana during pregnancy, which has health professionals concerned. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology suggests that marijuana can result in smaller babies, especially in women who use marijuana frequently in the first and second trimesters. ACOG recommends that pregnant women or women wanting to get pregnant should stop using marijuana, even if it is for medical purposes, and discuss options with their doctors that will be healthier for their babies.4 Pregnant women should check with their health care provider before using any medicines or substances.
Symptoms of NAS in a newborn can develop immediately or up to 14 days after birth. Some of these symptoms include:
- blotchy skin coloring
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Women And Substance Use: Specific Needs And Experiences Of Use Others Use And Transitions Towards Recovery
Research that focuses specifically on womens experiences of alcohol and/or drug use is still in its infancy, because historically, the study of addiction focused predominately on men, with womens use only acknowledged when it impacted their caregiving role. As such, research explains womens substance use …
Keywords:women, alcohol, drugs, recovery, treatment access
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.
Issues Women Face In Addiction And Recovery
Everyone has different problems and needs in addiction treatment. Recognizing and addressing those needs is the key to a successful recovery. There are many factors that influence what you need from treatment, including addiction history, co-occurring disorders, health issues, and family situation. One important factor is whether you are male or female. Here are some issues women are more likely to face in addiction and treatment.
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Men And Women Are Inherently Different
The two sexes are physically, biologically, and psychologically distinct in many ways. While some people question just how diverse men and women really are, one thing is certain: men and women have many very different life experiences. From high school prom to getting married, and raising children to the work field, life events and even daily living are experienced differently. Some are even quite contrast. In an article called 15 Ways Life Is Different For Men And Women And Why, on thetalko.com, Caroline James lists the most prominent ways in which life pans out differently for men and women.
Women Progress Faster In Addiction Than Men
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous said years ago that women progress faster than men. Now science is telling us why, and it’s not because women are the weaker sex. Physiological differences accelerate the progression of addiction in women compared with men. The female body processes alcohol, and to varying extents other addictive substances, differently than does the male body. Women have less of a stomach enzyme that breaks down alcohol. This leads to greater blood alcohol concentration. Women also have more fatty tissue than men, so alcohol is absorbed better into the bloodstream. One drink for a woman can have twice the physical impact as one drink for a man. Therefore the brain and other organs are exposed to higher concentrations of blood alcohol for longer periods of time and more likely to be damaged.
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The Importance Of Getting Gender Specific Treatment For Substance Abuse
There are not only gender differences in substance use disorders there are also gender differences in substance abuse treatment.Simply put, womens recovery topics and womens recovery group ideas look different than similar treatment for men. We are convinced that gender issues in recovery have to be addressed if recovery is to be successful.But heres the good news: there is gender specific treatment for substance abuse, and recovery is an option for women.
The good news is that recovery is natural for women. Addiction is the unnatural state. The female brain is actually wired for connection!
~ Brenda Iliff
If you are a woman in the Denver area, we have the experience and ability to address what it means to be a woman in recovery. If you still have questions about womens recovery topics, womens recovery group ideas, or gender specific treatment for substance abuse, feel free to contact us today.
Discover More About Fort Behavioral Healths Addiction Treatment Programs For Women
At Fort, we offer a safe and nurturing space for women to recover from the complex disease of addiction. Our team believes in inspiring each client to face their challenges, discover the root of their problems, and reclaim their lives. Our programs are designed to treat the underlying causes of addiction and help each client create a plan for lifelong recovery. We combine a 12-step program approach with a strong mental health component, integrating cutting-edge techniques such as:
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Support And Treatment Needs Of Women In Early Recovery
According to a study published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration , women have specific needs that should be addressed to optimize recovery. These include:10
In order to successfully achieve long-term sobriety, these relapse concerns must be met with a transitional living program that provides the appropriate recovery support resources. Eudaimonia Recovery Homes offers a wealth of recovery support services to meet the specific challenges and obstacles women face in early recovery.
To learn more about our sober living programs for women in Austin, Houston, Colorado Springs, and Chicago, please call our admissions team today.
Common Challenges Facing Women In Addiction Recovery
There are at least three challenges facing women in addiction recovery. To start with, women may:
These three issues can make it hard for women to recover on their own, which is why its necessary to contact a treatment facility to set up a time to begin treatment in an outpatient or inpatient program.
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How Can Female Patients Know If A Rehab Facility Will Cater To Their Specific Needs
Substance abuse and drug addiction affect people in different ways. For women especially, its essential to look for a rehab facility that will meet their specific needs and issues they face.
Pregnant women seeking treatment for substance abuse will need to find a rehab facility that can accommodate their prenatal needs.
Women who struggle with drug abuse as adults were often subjected to drug abuse as children, or abusive family situations when they were young. In many cases, these women grow up and become involved with peers or romantic partners who repeat these same, destructive patterns. Women facing these particular problems and influences need to find a center that staffs professionals who can accurately assess and account for how the patients past and present relationships impact her addiction. Therapy programs that address relationship skills, how to build and maintain firm boundaries, and how to be assertive are ideal for female patients with these struggles.
Women are more likely to stay in an abusive situation because of societal or financial pressure. These problems often worsen addiction and mental health disorder symptoms. Women facing these issues need to find a facility that can help them gain a sense of autonomy and safety while overcoming substance abuse disorder.
Women Are More Likely To Relapse Because Of Negative Emotions
We tend to imagine that negative events usually cause relapse, perhaps a breakup or getting fired, but at least one study has found that it may be different for men and women. A study from the University of Pennsylvania found that men were actually more likely to experience positive emotions before relapse. They may be feeling good and let their guard down or feel like since they dont need a drink, they can drink in moderation.
However, women were more likely to report negative emotions or interpersonal problems before a relapse. Whats more, women tended to be more impulsive when they relapsed. Fifty-six percent of the women in the study said they relapsed immediately after the thought of using cocaine occurred to them, compared to only seventeen percent of the men. This is why healthy coping strategies, positive relationships, and emotional regulation skills are so crucial in addiction recovery.
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How Do You Pay For Rehab
The most common way to pay for treatment is private insurance. Depending on what type of plan you have, your treatment may be partially or fully covered. If you are unsure what your plan covers, call your insurance provider to get more information.
Below are additional ideas on how to cover the cost of rehab:
- Take out a loan: Several financial institutions specialize in providing loans for substance abuse treatment. Specifically, healthcare loans often have lower interest rates. You can also take out a personal loan from friends or family. Lastly, you can use a low-interest credit card and make payments on the balance.
- Scholarships: Some programs offer scholarships to help women get into rehab. For example, the 10,000 Beds Scholarship program offers scholarships to help cover the cost of treatment. And The Sobriety Foundation helps people in Utah struggling with substance abuse achieve long-term sobriety. Applications for both of these opportunities are available online.
- Crowdfund: Raising money on fundraising platforms can be effective. When you share your story online, it can touch people and motivate them to support your recovery. You can look into sites such as GoFundMe, CrowdRise, YouCaring, and Indiegogo for more information on how to get started.
Many rehab centers take public insurance. If you meet the eligibility requirements for Medicaid or Medicare, you can enroll to receive benefits.
How Can You Turn Your Struggle Into Triumph
Author and woman in recovery, Ann Dowsett Johnson, says, Write your recovery. We are told by society that addiction is something that happens to bad people and thats partly why its so hard for people to ask for help when they need it. When speaking on writing about her recovery, one tip she shares is that authenticity matters.
This is the way I write about my own recovery. I like to be as honest as I can, sharing my struggles and successes while letting my followers know that not every day in recovery is all rainbows and butterflies. Overcoming an addiction is hard work and many of us find purpose in turning our struggles into triumphs. I believe this is an important lesson for anyone who is facing adversity: Use your pain, dont let it destroy you.
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Drug Abuse & Women’s Health
Drug and alcohol abuse is not associated with good health for men or women. However, women can develop substance use disorders more quickly than men. Unfortunately, substance use disorder affects 5.7% of women in the US, and numbers are rising throughout the world6.
Although illicit and legal substances have not been studied for physiological effects on women, research has shown that certain substances can cause adverse effects9. Stimulants, opioids, and prescription drugs can cause abnormalities in gastrointestinal, neuromuscular, and cardiac systems. In addition, these drugs can cause changes and difficulties with a womans menstrual cycle.
Women Face Additional Challenges In Substance Abuse Treatment
Most Americans know that addiction is a personal struggle, but many believe men and women generally experience similar paths when they decide to pursue substance abuse treatment. While many men and women experience significant hardship through addiction and recovery, they tend to face vastly different scenarios due to the social stigma surrounding addiction and the fundamental biological differences between men and women. Unfortunately, women tend to face a more difficult road to recovery.
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The Benefits Of Womens
Studies into sex-specific substance abuse treatment has revealed that women tend to display more positive recovery outcomes and higher long-term abstinence rates after completing substance abuse treatment designed specifically for women. There are many reasons for this, but the noticeable increase in quality outcomes tends to fall to specific attention to womens physical needs and breaking down the guilt, shame, and pressure that social stigmas place on women in substance abuse recovery.
A womens-only substance abuse treatment program generally allows women to receive more complete and more specific attention to their behaviors, medical needs, and psychosocial issues. Womens-only treatment tends to be especially effective for women who have experienced domestic violence or sexual abuse during their addictions. Ultimately, it is vital for any woman experiencing substance abuse on any level to understand the unique risks, challenges, and obstacles she may face on her road to recovery.
Echo Recovery exists to help those seeking substance abuse treatment find the programs and treatment centers most suitable to their needs. If you need a womens-only substance abuse treatment program or want to learn more about what these programs can offer, contact Echo Recovery today and we can connect you with the resources you need to start your path to recovery.
How Can Women Stay Sober After Rehab
After treatment, women may still encounter a number of obstacles to recovery. They will need to learn how to form new relationships with people who do not use drugs, including intimate relationships with partners-especially if the partner uses drugs or alcohol. Women who have high novelty-seeking personalities or who are used to living in a crisis may have to learn how to be involved in day-to-day activities without seeking out or creating crisis situations.
In addition, women in recovery may struggle with:25
- Symptoms of depression.
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Women Recover From Addiction Differently Than Men
Recovery often happens fast for women. Recovery is a natural for women. That’s because women are wired for relationships, and recovery from addiction starts with connection. The female brain is very different from the male brain, and it starts in utero with the communication centers being different. Women are wired for connection and many women take their worth from the quality of their relationship. Addiction is an extremely isolating condition. Women lose themselves and their most important relationships to addiction. Much of the healing process of recovery revolves around connecting with others who share the struggle.
Social Issues In Recovery
Social issues also play a role in addiction recovery. When women are surrounded by supportive individuals who want to see them succeed, they are more likely to recover without a relapse. However, as with most people who have substance abuse disorders, they likely have friends who also abuse substances. If they dont change their environment, they may be more likely to relapse because they are surrounded by people who do not want them to recover.
For example, a woman may have a friend who knows that shes recovering from an alcohol use disorder. That friend might invite her to a bar without thinking about how that could affect her recovery. Then, the woman may drink to fit in, even though that could lead to a serious relapse.
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Common Issues Women Face In Addiction Recovery
Womens issues in addiction recovery differ from those of men in many ways. Having an overview of some of the most common struggles for women in addiction recovery can help you know what to expect.
At Fort Behavioral Health, our womens rehab program takes gender differences seriously. We aim to create a safe space for women to share their experiences without the distractions that often come with mixed company. Learn more from our team today by calling or completing our online form.